James Dunn

McNair Scholar

Hometown: Houghton Lake, Mich.

Meet James, an Honors Program student majoring in biochemistry. James is a member of the most recent cohort of McNair Scholars — a group of under-represented, low-income or first-generation students with aspirations to achieve a doctorate degree.

James says his favorite part about being involved in the federally funded program is watching his fellow scholars reach for the stars. “Often times, students who come from under-represented backgrounds have this stigma that they could never get a doctorate. Through this program, we instill in students that you can achieve it if you really want it as long, as you work hard to get it.”

Prepared for the next step. “Being a member of the McNair program has allowed me to put my best foot forward when I’m applying for graduate programs. I’ve loved it so far.”

Determined to change the world. “It would be amazing if I could generate some new knowledge that would influence an entire field or the entire world. That’s what keeps me driven to earn my doctorate.”

Not afraid to dream big. “It’s empowering to know that students who come from under-represented backgrounds can realize their potential and obtain it. It’s definitely a competitive program to be admitted into, but it’s worth it in the end.”

CMU students breaking the mold

Highlights of the McNair Scholars Program include:

  • CMU’s McNair Scholars Program was recently awarded more than $1.1 million in federal five-year funding from the U.S. Department of Education, despite more than 50 McNair Scholars Programs being cut across the nation due to reduced federal funds.
  • Since CMU’s inaugural McNair Scholars class in 1999, the program has served more than 140 students.
  • Nearly half of CMU’s McNair Scholars go on to earn their master’s degrees with approximately 20 percent enrolling in doctoral programs across the nation.

To learn more about the McNair Scholars Program, click here.